Shopping on Bonaire: Tips for the perfect shopping experience
Shopping on Bonaire is small-scale, but you will find nice boutiques to small shopping centers. Most stores are located in Kralendijk. Shopping is a bit more expensive than elsewhere because of imported products, but local products, on the other hand, are unique.
If you are looking for a relaxing and fun shopping experience on a tropical island, Bonaire is the perfect destination. With despite its small size, a wide range of shopping options, from small boutiques to slightly larger malls, there is something for everyone. In this article we share our tips for shopping during your Bonaire vacation, from the best shopping areas to the best deals and unique local products. Don’t feel like getting in the water for a while during your dive vacation on Bonaire? Then plunge into the island’s motley collection of stores!
Shopping opportunities on Bonaire
Most of Bonaire’s stores are located in the main town, Kralendijk, locally also called “Playa”. The main shopping street is Kaya Grandi, where you will find a variety of small stores, from clothing to souvenirs. There are also other areas where stores can be found, such as in Hato. In Kralendijk itself you will find several small-scale shopping centers, including the Royal Palm Galleries and the shopping strip under the Terramar building. In Hato, just outside Kralendijk, you will find the Bonaire District Mall Hato, which includes a toy store and a drugstore! As of April 3, 2023, Venezuelan boats with fruits and vegetables will reappear, displaying and selling their wares in the permanent gazebo on the boulevard across from the north pier in town. These boats had disappeared in 2019 due to a trade blockade by the Venezuelan president.
Opening hours and payment options
Most stores in Bonaire are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Between noon and 2 p.m., shopkeepers often take their lunch break and stores are closed. Stores are also closed on Sundays and some holidays. Payment options are diverse, from cash to credit cards and debit cards. Keep in mind that Bonaire has only the U.S. dollar as its currency. So if you’re from outside the USA, this can cause exchange rate losses with payments from, for instance, a euro account.
Shopping on Bonaire for tourists
One of the disadvantages of shopping on Bonaire is that almost all products have to be imported. This makes many items a lot more expensive than in most other countries. On the other hand, many local products, such as art made from driftwood and items with Bonairean sea salt, are not for sale anywhere else. At ‘Flamingo Airport’ you can shop tax-free, but the tax-free stores are small. Stores selling souvenirs, diving and snorkeling gear and clothing are doing well on the island. Bonaire, of course, is a diving destination par excellence! It is not common on Bonaire to haggle over prices to get better deals.
Local products and responsible shopping
So if you are looking for unique local products, you are in the right place in Bonaire. There are a variety of local crafts, including handmade Bonairean products such as pottery, paintings and driftwood art. Aloe era products are also popular on the island. Several artists and galleries on the island sell local art, from paintings to sculptures. You can store responsibly by buying locally produced products and being mindful of the environment.
History and evolution of shopping in Bonaire
The history of shopping on Bonaire dates back to the time of Dutch colonization. Back then, there were mostly small local stores that catered in part to the needs of the local population. In addition, many families lived autonomously, owning their own livestock for milk and meat. Today, the shopping experience on Bonaire has improved considerably, with more shopping options and better products. However, still don’t expect giant supermarkets and huge shopping malls. Instead, the charm of Bonaire is that everything is small and relatively limited.
If you are looking for souvenirs, local art, or just want to spend a nice afternoon shopping, Bonaire has a lot to offer. Everyday items that are also available on the mainland can be purchased cheaper elsewhere. With our tips for shopping on the island, you can be sure to have the perfect shopping experience. Remember to store responsibly and buy locally produced products.